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After more than forty years of living “safe and scared,” Susan Spann decided to break free by climbing one hundred of Japan’s most famous mountains in a single year. But when an unexpected cancer diagnosis forced her to confront her deepest fears, the mountains of Japan became the setting for a transformative journey–from pain and fear to a new life fueled by hope, confidence, and strength.
This immersive, inspiring, and witty page-turner captures the terrifying lows and breathtaking highs of a woman’s journey from timidity to confidence, cancer to healing, and regret to joy, as she breaks the mental and physical chains that once prevented her from living out her dreams. Susan chronicles her journey with an insightful, often humorous eye for not only her travels across Japan, but the culture, food, nature, and obstacles she encountered along the way, and complements her honest and vivid prose with breathtaking personal photographs.
“Spann’s journey is a tremendous reach into uncertainty amidst a cancer diagnosis, and ultimately her summits become a reward far more than the tops of the mountains she attains. ” — Erik Weihenmayer, Athlete, Adventurer, Bestselling Author and founder of NO BARRIERS USA
May, 1564: When a samurai is brutally murdered in a Kyoto teahouse, master ninja Hiro Hattori has just three days to find the killer before the dead man’s vengeful son kills both the beautiful geisha accused of the crime and Father Mateo, the Jesuit priest that Hiro has pledged his own life to protect. The investigation plunges Hiro and Father Mateo into the dangerous waters of Kyoto’s floating world, where they quickly learn that everyone from an elusive teahouse owner to the dead man’s dishonored brother has a motive to keep the samurai’s death a mystery.
“While Spann demonstrates admirable attention to detail in her ninja detective debut, it’s the contemporary tone of her prose that makes this intriguing 16th-century historical so accessible. ” — Library Journal (starred review, mystery debut of the month)
June, 1565: When a killer murders the shogun’s cousin, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo are summoned to the shogun’s palace and ordered to find the killer.
The evidence implicates Hiro’s friend and fellow shinobi, Kazu, who was working undercover at the shogunate; however, the victim’s wife, a suspicious maid, and even the shogun’s stable master also had reasons to want the victim dead. With enemy forces approaching Kyoto, and the murderer poised to strike again, Hiro and Father Mateo must produce the killer in time . . . or die in his place.
“A sharp, well-integrated mystery.” — Kirkus Reviews
August 1565: When a rival artisan turns up dead outside Ginjiro’s brewery, and all evidence implicates the brewer, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo must find the killer before the magistrate executes Ginjiro and seizes the brewery, leaving his wife and daughter destitute.
A missing merchant, a vicious debt collector, and a female moneylender join Ginjiro and the victim’s spendthrift son on the suspect list, and the drunken monk who claims responsibility for the crime quickly proves more hinderance than help. With Kyoto on alert in the wake of the shogun’s recent death, a rival shinobi on the prowl, and powerful samurai threatening Hiro and Father Mateo at every turn, Ginjiro’s life is not the only one in danger.
“Hiro and Father Mateo . . . make a remarkable crime-solving team.” — Library Journal
Autumn, 1565: When an actor’s daughter is murdered on the banks of Kyoto’s Kamo River, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo are the victim’s only hope for justice.
As political tensions rise in the wake of the shogun’s recent death, and rival warlords threaten war, the Kyoto police forbid an investigation of the killing, to keep the peace—but Hiro has a personal connection to the girl, and must avenge her.
The secret investigation leads Hiro and Father Mateo deep into the exclusive world of Kyoto’s theater guilds, where they quickly learn that nothing, and no one, is as it seems. With only a mysterious golden coin to guide them, the investigators uncover a forbidden love affair, a missing mask, and a dangerous link to corruption within the Kyoto police department that leaves Hiro and Father Mateo running for their lives.
“A compelling mystery, powered by political intrigue and cultural conflicts.” — New York Times bestselling author Lisa Brackmann
Autumn, 1565: After fleeing Kyoto, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo take refuge with Hiro’s ninja clan in the mountains of Iga province. But when an ambassador from the rival Koga clan is murdered during peace negotiations, Hiro and Father Mateo must find the killer in time to prevent a war between the ninja clans.
With every suspect a trained assassin, and the evidence incriminating not only Hiro’s commander, the infamous ninja Hattori Hanzo, but also Hiro’s mother and his former lover, the detectives must struggle to find the truth in a village where deceit is a cultivated art. As tensions rise, the killer strikes again, and Hiro finds himself forced to choose between his family and his honor.
“Spann keeps getting better . . . a taut closed-circle mystery with perilous consequences. Fans of classic whodunits will be pleased.” —Publisher’s Weekly
November, 1565: Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Jesuit Father Mateo head to Mount Koya, and find themselves embroiled in a mystery at a Shingon Buddhist temple atop one of Japan’s most sacred peaks.
Hiro Hattori and Father Mateo travel to a Buddhist temple atop Mount Koya, carrying a secret message for an Iga spy posing as a priest on the sacred mountain. When a snowstorm strikes the peak, a killer begins murdering the temple’s priests and posing them as Buddhist judges of the afterlife–the Kings of Hell. Hiro and Father Mateo must unravel the mystery before the remaining priests–including Father Mateo–become unwilling members of the killer’s grisly council of the dead.
“Spann’s homage to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None combines a puzzling mystery with a fascinating look at historical Buddhism.” —Kirkus
January, 1566: When a vengeful spirit terrorizes a mountain village, Hiro and Father Mateo must save the villagers from the phantom’s wrath.
En route to Edo, Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo spend the night in a rural mountain village whose inhabitants live in terror of a legendary vengeful ghost. When the innkeeper’s wife is murdered and Father Mateo’s housekeeper, Ana, is blamed for a crime she did not commit, Hiro and Father Mateo are forced to investigate and reveal the truth. But when another woman turns up murdered in the snow, the detectives must face the shocking truth that the vengeful yurei the villagers fear might be more than just a legend after all.
“Atmospheric, meticulously researched … Historical mystery fans will be well satisfied.” —Publisher’s Weekly
Edo, February 1566: When a samurai’s corpse is discovered in the ruins of a burned-out bookshop, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Jesuit Father Mateo must determine whether the shopkeeper and his young apprentice are innocent victims or assassins in disguise. The investigation quickly reveals dangerous ties to Hiro’s past, which threaten not only Edo’s fledgling booksellers’ guild, but the very survival of Hiro’s ninja clan. With an arsonist on the loose, and a murderer stalking the narrow streets, Hiro and Father Mateo must save the guild—and themselves—from a conflagration that could destroy them all.
36 thoughts on “Books”
I see where you have signed for a new book for the this year and 2019 & 2020. My father who is Japanese and 89 years old still reads every day and has read all of these several times and is waiting for your next release…. keep em coming
Thank you so much Steven! Please tell your father I’m so happy he enjoys the books, and that I will absolutely keep writing them. I am honored and delighted to hear that he likes the novels so much – and that he’s still an avid reader at 89! That’s fantastic!
Barnes & Noble recommended your books after reading Elsa Hart’s books. I love these! I hope you keep writing them.
Thank you so much Gretchen!
Reading your last book after having read the rest of them and highly anticipating the next one. I’ll make you a confidence: I had mitigated opinions about the first two, but the more I read your books, the better they became. Also, I *think* I may have understood the long term plan, and of so, that will be epic (hint without spoiling… Akechi… Nemo… Hiro’s oath… Oda Nobunaga… this could ,are such a badass story, and I think it will!) 🙂
Your greatest French fan
Thank you Jean-Pierre! I’m delighted to hear you like the books–and I too think they’ve gotten better as they go. I try to improve with every book I write, and I’m glad it shows. FIRES OF EDO will release in early 2022 (the pandemic cost us a year, sadly–I had the manuscript finished, but the publisher has had delays – still, at least it’s in the pipeline!). And, without saying too much, I do think you’re on the right trail. 🙂 Thank you again!
Studio auto correct changed “Neko” into “Nemo”, sorry for that! 🙁
No worries. I’ve been punked by autocorrect before myself.
I read each book a couple times and look forward to next two years installments. I enjoy the characters and the view into the culture.
Thank you so much Mary! I love writing the novels, and hope to keep writing more for many years to come.
I apologize if I am asking a question which is answered elsewhere, I have read all the books and have the next one on preorder, but this is my first time on the website.
Is there a place where Ms Spann gives recommendations for other reading? Books she had enjoyed herself?
Hello Gene – thank you for reading, and I’m delighted to hear that you enjoy the novels! Thank you for your question also. I haven’t previously set up a formal list of books I enjoyed or recommendations for other reading, but I will start adding some here on the website in 2019. It’s a great idea, as I love hearing what other people enjoy reading also. As an initial recommendation, I loved THE GIRL WITH GHOST EYES by Matthew Boroson and I’m a fan of Steve Goble’s pirate mystery series featuring Spider John Rush – I believe the second installment, THE DEVIL’S WIND, is the newest release in that series, but definitely start from the beginning.
Hi Susan! I love your books and am looking forward to the next instalment. Keep up the great work!
Thank you very much!!
Hat about your next Hattori-Novel? 🏯
GHOST OF THE BAMBOO ROAD will release from Seventh Street books in early November 2019!
Just finished Ghost on the Bamboo Road, so looking forward to whatever is coming next. Will Hiro and Father Mateo finally appear in Edo?
Thank you Steven – and yes, they will! They get there in the next installment, FIRES OF EDO, which I’m just finishing up this month (a little later than usual, due to the upcoming release of my nonfiction book, CLIMB, in June 2020.)
There are very few authors about whom (and to whom) I would say this. I’ve read all 7 of the Hiro Hattori books (and still have them all)…
I wish you could/would write faster.
Thank you so much. I am honored to receive such a high compliment. I will keep writing as fast as I can!
I found these book on Apple Books about a week ago and am on the 5th book! I’m a big fan of historical mysteries and this series has opened me up to a new set of characters that are amazing. Keep up the good work – the books are highly enjoyed during these times.
Looking forward to the rest & upcoming ones.
Thank you so much! I am very glad you like them!
Loved “CLIMB”, read it twice, marked up the book with so many thought-provoking sentences. Susan, you’re descriptive prose is so good.
Just ordered “Claws of the Cat”! I’m excited to start reading this series.
Just finished “Claws of the Cat”. Loved it! Loved the period detail, the historical and cultural information, the story, the characters, and the glossary of Japanese terms in the back of the back. I look forward to reading the next Hattori book.
My wife and I lived in Japan, loved it and have been back once. We have read every one of the Hattori novels and look forward to Fires of Edo. When will we have the pleasure of being able to order and read it?
Thank you so much Steven! We don’t have a publication date yet on Fires of Edo – the publisher has changed its policy on the announcements, I believe due to Coronavirus – but I am finishing the page proofs now so I am hoping it will release in late 2021. I will update the page as soon as I know!!
I have read all the Shinobi Mysteries and am waiting for more. Love them. Please keep me posted….firstname.lastname@example.org
Please write more shinobi mysteries ! I love them ! And just when is Gato going to have kittens??!! Barbara Beil
Thank you!! I’m already working on the next one – and while I don’t know exactly when Gato will have kittens, it’s definitely likely to happen in the future!
Love the series Susan. I’ve got to reread all the previous books before Fires of Edo drops! Keep them coming!
Thank you so much Justin! And I plan to – I hope you like the new one!!
I totally missed the release of Fires fo Edo! I’d been waiting for the next installment. When I saw it on Twitter last week I lost no time, got it and finished it much too fast. I missed Hiro and Father Mateo so much. It was a great read, thank you so much, and please continue writing!
I’m just wondering one thing: Hiro doesn’t seem to get around to do physical training a lot, at least not during the stories. Shouldn’t he be doing something keep up his training every day?
Thank you Mayken! I’m delighted to hear you enjoyed the book! Actually, Hiro does do training every day – but unfortunately, the requirements of story and pacing prevent me from being able to mention it (repeatedly). I can assure you he does it though!
I just finished reading Fires of Edo. Now I must wait for you to release another Hiro Hattori novel. 2022 will be a long year! Thank you for the work you’re doing to enlighten, entertain, and educate us about feudal Japanese culture. I began reading your books when I happened upon a signed copy of Claws of the Cat at a local thrift shop. After reading it I was hooked. Then my wife got hooked. Needless to say, we love your writing and look forward to the next adventure.
Thank you so much! I will do my best to write the next one as soon as possible – and I am so very glad you enjoy the books!